In DeSouza Associates, News

We’ve had several conversations with our suppliers over the last few weeks regarding re-opening hotels in the near future (just seen today about Hilton Hotel in BerIin reopening) and we wanted to explore in a little more detail what meetings and events could look like post lockdown.

At DeSouza Associates, we guess that at the present time no one (not even the virology experts that we have worked with over the last 20 years or so) knows exactly what events will look like in the short to medium future but we can all surmise that will be different.  Our gut feeling is that some events may return late autumn, more likely in 2021 though. If meetings and events along with larger gatherings are allowed to take place too soon then we will inevitably end up in a relapse situation.  There is a view that events above 50 people will take a while to get back on the agenda.

What Will Meetings & Events Look Like?

Surely, there will have to be a number of factors to consider from the health and safety perspective.

From the research that we have done, these would seem to encompass, but will not be limited to, the following: social distancing, disinfection, thermal screening (?), handling those who show symptoms, etc. We’ll discuss some of these in a little more detail.

Social distancing – we’ll all been very used to this phrase since lockdown (stay at least 2 metres from others, no group gatherings outside your household, stay out of crowded places etc) but what will it actually mean during events?

One of the first things to be reconsidered will have to be the room layout.  Surely, we will need to have 6 feet between chairs and people will have to be organised in such a way that people can get to their places in an orderly manner.  On a webinar last week, we saw some examples of large conference hotels recalculating their maximum capacities, based on the 2m rule, so classroom set-up with one person per desk and 2 metres between rows.

Food and Beverage

Where do we begin, and there are bound to be severe cost implications too!

We would imagine self-service buffets won’t be an option for a while. Seated dining will be the only alternative with participants spaced out appropriately, staff wearing protective gear, and hand sanitisers being available.

For interest, a Shangri-La spokesperson shared this with me regarding their return from lockdown in China: “As business gradually resumes in Mainland China, people would like to dine out and there is a need for meetings and conferences. In line with local authorities’ recommendations, we have provided tailor made MICE services and implemented social distancing guidelines. These measures include a separate table for each guest, contactless self-service coffee breaks and individual meal set with disposable cutlery for every meeting attendee or bento meal box. Guest will also be required to complete a health declaration form for contact tracing.”

Bento box for meetings and events lunch


This is one area that will surely be most impacted on.  Handshaking, business card exchanging etc obviously do not come under the rules of social distancing.


Keeping with social distancing, there will need to be at least 2 metres between delegates queuing at registration.


We would suggest that physical signage would need to be clearly displayed to remind people about social distancing everywhere at the venue and in common areas such as where F&B will be served.

Disinfection and Sanitation

There will need to be clear communication and action addressing the following for both delegates and event staff:

  • Hand washing – Signage will need to be offered at the venue instructing delegates to wash their hands.
  • Hand sanitising – If this is not provided by the venue, it will need to be provided by the event planner.  This is a sponsorship opportunity and a great item in conference bags perhaps?
  • AV equipment and conference materials – It is anticipated that these will need to be sanitised constantly before being accessed by staff and before being shared with delegates. Working with suppliers that have a virus management strategy may be a key consideration.
  • Plenary and breakout room sanitation – Event planners will have to work closely with venues regarding the frequency and quality of sanitation of high contact surfaces.
  • Sanitation of bedrooms – If a block of bedrooms has been booked as part of the event, sanitation of the rooms will have to be a major consideration as well as for the meeting spaces. Asking the hotel what they are doing to provide a virus-free environment and communicating the measures to attendees will be key.
  • Personal protection equipment (PPE) – This could be key for event staff and delegates.  Perhaps facemasks will have to be provided to event staff and possibly to delegates too, or they will have to be advised to bring their own?

Thermal scanning

We wonder if thermal screening will have to be carried out at events.

Even though the evidence is thin on the ground regarding whether thermal cameras actually work, some are of the view that this will have to be part of future events.

Triage of those who show symptoms

Event organisers will need to have a plan in place to deal with any participants who show symptoms of the coronavirus in terms of having a specific space which could be used to isolate anyone who becomes unwell at an event and who is unable to leave immediately!  Part of the pre-planning will no doubt have to include knowledge of local hospitals.

These are only some of the considerations for taking care of those who may get sick at your event.

We will return to his topic very soon and will review progress.

Are you looking for a venue for a future live or hybrid event – then look no further!

Why not give one of our venue finding experts a call?

Call us on 01252 722185

Email us: events@desouza-associates.com 

Or complete our contact form

knowledge      experience    solution

Recent Posts
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Start typing and press Enter to search

Virtual conferencing platform